Chris Steven, Abuja
THE leadership of Nigeria Union of Teachers has warned the Federal and State governments against the planned handover of primary school administration to the local government councils in the country.
This followed the proposed local government Autonomy bill which could see to the return of primary schools to the local government administration which was recently passed by the House of Representatives.
The Senate, however, refused to pass the bill, there by dashing the hopes of many who have always yearned for local government autonomy, since they see it as an avenue for grassroot development.
The Union also called on the Federal government to take urgent steps to review the 9-Year Basic Education curriculum while also making the study of history compulsory in primary and secondary school levels of education.
President of NUT, Comrade Michael Alogba Olukoya, made the call in Abuja yesterday at the 2017 Solemn Assembly organised to commit the activities of the Union into the hands of God in the New Year.
Prayers were also held for the peace and stability of the nation by the clergymen invited to deliver sermons at the event.
But NUT said even though it was not against the proposed local government autonomy, it warned that teachers would resist any attempt to return management of primary schools to the local government administrations, saying this would plunge the basic education sector into an unmanageable crisis.
“We want to plead and re-emphasise that we shall be taken Nigeria back into the stone age if any attempt is made to return primary education to the local government administration.
As I speak, there is no local government through their fiscal allocation that can run primary schools effectively. Make your research, there is no local government in this country that can pay teachers’ salaries and do other things without collaborative efforts of the state government,” he said.
He stressed that the teachers were not against granting of autonomy to the local governments but insisted that government should create a body such as National Primary Education Commission, which was established in the time past to regulate that level of education in the country.
On removal of History from the Basic Education curriculum, NUT President said: “Abandoning History as a subject is a disservice to education and to the Nigerian child.
“There is no way there could be development without the knowledge of the past. We have said this at every forum and we are equally using this opportunity to re-echo our stand that there is need for the curriculum in our schools to be re-modified, especially in the area of the teaching subjects.
History is vital and very important subject and must not be dropped in the name of Social Studies or what have you. The beginning of planting patriotic zeal in an individual starts from the teaching and learning of History.
What we need is commitment on the part of our government. They should know that it is high time education is restructured. We have met with them and there is nothing disturbing curriculum developers from the 36 States and ministry of education to converge and all these things in place,” he said.
NUT President, while lamenting the infrastructural decay in schools in Nigeria, said the common sight in most public schools were fallen roofs, no chairs to sit on, with children learning under trees in some cases.
He expressed regrets that many states are still owing salaries of teachers for several months, warning that government at all levels must make the 2017, a strike-free year by paying teachers as well as other workers, their salaries and other entitlements as at when due.
“It is not our happiness for our members to be off the classrooms but if we are push to the wall, we will have no other choice than to withdraw their services”. He said